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  • The pirogues of Evatra rest in the afternoon breeze. They have done their work for the day, although there is not much to show for it. A couple of yellowfin tuna is not enough to sustain a whole village.

    The following day, hours before dawn, their heavy hulls are once more hauled down to the water’s edge. In each, a set of four fishermen depart from Madagascar's shores to paddle into the darkness, trusting in the guidance of the southern cross. The fish are known to bite better during the night.

    Carved from whole tree trunks, the pirogues are buoyant but unsteady in rough waves. Those who sit in their hollows are constantly at risk. Every year, village souls are lost in the ocean. So it is fady, or taboo, for two brothers to paddle the same pirogue. It is fady too, for women to paddle a pirogue. It is even fady for women to dress themselves beautifully or clean the house while their pirogues are away.

    The places in the pirogues are passed from father to son. Every generation, every year, every day before the sun rises, the pirogues set out to sea, carrying the village of Evatra.
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